10 questions to help you find your retirement lifestyle

10 questions to help you find your retirement lifestyle
Elissa Gargone Photo credit: Jefferson's Ferry Life Plan Community

Elissa Gargone

One of the most important decisions we make at every stage of adult life is where we are going to live.

Whether it’s our first apartment, the home where we raise a family, or a relocation for work, where we live plays an outsized role in determining how we will live. Retirement presents us with that decision once more, and with it the chance to explore new avenues of opportunity, meet new people and enjoy a variety of what life has to offer.

Where you live in retirement will, in many ways, dictate your access to the activities that will enhance these years of your life.

Determining the right retirement living situation for you starts with asking the right questions and carefully considering your personal needs and desires. For many of us, it can be hard to imagine a new phase of life that isn’t dictated by getting up and going to work.

The optimal time to begin the planning process is while you’re still working. You’ll want to avoid the all-too-common mistake of failing to plan, whether it’s having no plan, waiting too long to make a plan, or thinking that you don’t need a plan.

You don’t want to be pressed to make a choice when you unexpectedly have a need.  There are what can seem like a dizzying array of options out there. The more you learn about the options, the easier your decision will be.

While this hesitation may stem from our uncertainty about the future, one thing is certain. We all age, and our needs will change as we do.  It’s better to be proactive than reactive. It’s not unlike starting a business.

This is the business of your life and you’re planning to meet your needs now and in the future.

Here are 10 questions that can get you started in the process.

  1. What do I want my future to look like?
  2. What do I want to continue to do?
  3. What do I not want to do?
  4. What can’t I do?
  5. What will I not be able to do?
  6. What kinds of activities interest me?
  7. Where do I want to be– near family, in my familiar community? City, country, suburbs?
  8. What kind of people do I want to be with?
  9. What amenities would I like?
  10. How much space do I need?

Look around the house and ask: what do I want, and what can I do without?  It’s critical to be realistic with your answers.

Consider, for example, your current state of health. If you or your spouse have health issues now, it’s more than likely that you will have greater health concerns in ten years. You must be honest about the barriers to things you want to do now and how you will manage those challenges later in life.

A retirement home is an option for some, but be sure to look beyond the real estate to the services—health care, shopping, activities, and transportation that come with it or are nearby.

The services will be important as you age. A 55-plus community that suits your lifestyle in your 60s may not have the services to support you after age 75 or 80.

Popular options include lifecare retirement communities like Jefferson’s Ferry that enable residents to age in place, with independent living, rehabilitation, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory support facilities available on one site with the peace of mind that comes with a full spectrum of onsite senior health services at predictable rates; others include assisted living facilities that offer private rooms and apartments; independent living senior living communities; condominiums and shared space with family members, to name a few.

Socialization is at the top of the list for successful aging. Engaging with others—our friends, family, service people and caregivers help us thrive.  Having more time to do the things you like and enjoy the company of old and new friends and family is a wonderful gift.

Elissa Gargone is vice president of Sales and Marketing at Jefferson’s Ferry Life Plan Community in S. Setauket, New York.


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